One of the biggest misconceptions about equity crowdfunding is that a viral social media campaign is the sole path to success.
The purpose of social media marketing is to expand your reach by appealing to cold leads. Founders who put all their stock into this type of marketing forget the number one rule of sales: warm leads are easier to convert than cold ones.
You’ll find your warm and hot leads much closer to home. Whether a potential investor knows you well and has met you personally, or whether they’re just a connection on LinkedIn or a friend of a friend, familiarity is a powerful thing. Even if you’ve never spoken on the phone, a recognisable face garners trust, interest and credibility. So take advantage!
Here’s how to maximise your direct outreach impact as a significant part of your equity crowdfunding marketing plan, as opposed to a last port of call.
- Identify your existing warm leads
Start with the thing that’s likely already in the palm of your hand: your phone. Draw from your contact lists and email accounts everyone you’d connected with in the last 3 years. Gmail, Facebook and LinkedIn all have tools for exporting contact lists. Start whittling it down to those who might be a) even remotely interested and b) in a position to invest. Don’t be too discerning here - just because someone might not seem like an ideal investor, they might know someone who is.
- Change your mental vernacular
The reasons a founder might feel more comfortable targeting strangers than known connections are obvious: we don’t like asking for favours, and we definitely don’t like asking for money. But raising capital through equity crowdfunding is not a favour. Change the words in which you think about your proposition. You’re not making a demand, but offering an opportunity. If someone you’ve reached out to doesn’t want to invest, they can simply say no.
- Track your responses
There are many free or affordable mail merge and email tracking tools available, most of them sharing very similar functionalities. MailChimp is probably the most well known, but you might not need its full HTML-editor functionality (and you risk looking a bit sales-y and impersonal). Hubspot can help your emails look professional without being over-designed, and NetHunt is good for simple contact management and click-through tracking.
You’ll want to be tracking how many people open your email, how many click through to your campaign page, and how long they spend there. The combination of email marketing software and UTM tags can help you easily keep track. By doing so, you can identify your most interested and committed audience, and gear your marketing strategy towards reaching and converting them.
- Multiply your visibility
We all know how easy it is to get worn down by advertising. You might resist that first Coke ad you see at a bus stop on a hot day, but by the third time you’re exposed to the image of that glistening bottle, you’re much more likely to give in. Not that you want your investors to feel worn down, but it’s a crucial rule of marketing that buyers don’t convert after one touchpoint. They need to see the offer at a couple of different points before the messaging sinks in.
Don’t rely on a single email during your direct outreach activity. Back it up with a phone call or by adding them to an online group, and make sure they’re exposed to your social media efforts. Consistency is key.
- Remember to check the legals
There are certain legalities to be aware of when making unsolicited contact. Naturally, you can’t just add a bunch of people onto a mailing list and start spamming them. Rules will differ depending on where you are in the world, but generally, they’re more relaxed when it comes to approaching business accounts than personal ones. If you’re unsure, check with a legal professional to cover your bases.
We’ll spare you from making our final bullet point “believe in yourself” - but take heart from the experience you’ve gained throughout the development of your offer, and the accomplishments you’ve made so far. Self-belief rings loud and clear when speaking to investors, and seeing your confidence will inspire theirs. Want some assistance in reaching your existing investor connections, and getting in touch with new ones? Talk to us here.